Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Jacksonville Horror Story, Part II

We've had some fun on Halloween here at the LSTC.  Three years ago, we introduced Dean Satan with a spooky tale of law school remorse.  Last year, we shared the spine-tingling, chilling story of Indiana Tech.

But perhaps our greatest Halloween horror story came in 2015, when Florida Coastal dean Scott DeVito went like Jason Voorhees with the chainsaw of Truth on the school's critics.
Our alumni repay their loans at a higher rate than the “elite” schools.
Sometimes it takes a for-profit entity to right a wrong—in this case the lack of diversity in law schools.
...taxpayers are not paying for our students’ education.
If the board comes I think they will be delighted with what they see: a law school that is educating and preparing a diverse group of students for success in a way that is better than traditional not-for-profit law schools.
Ghoulish carnage.  And like Freddy Kruger, there ain't no keeping a diabolical antihero away...

He's baccccckkkkk...

As first act backstory in this sequel, the stodgy, outworn ABA is questioning Florida Coastal's compliance with ABA standards, presumably in response to grossly misleading first time bar exam pass rates of 25% (Feb. 2017) and 47.7% (July 2017).
Barry Currier, ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education, wrote in a letter to the school Oct. 12 that the Accreditation Committee concluded Florida Coastal is not in compliance with regard to maintaining a rigorous program of education that prepares its graduates for admission to the Bar.
The boiling of the administration's blood - that stirring that will eventually lead to scalding vengeance against the naive population - is palpable even as one reads this ridiculous introductory paragraph.

And sure enough, in the second act, here comes our hero like Pennywise the Dancin' Fuckin' Clown:
DeVito said the “ultimate pass rate” for Florida Coastal graduates is in the high 90s.
When the ultimate pass rate is considered, “we are fully compliant,” DeVito said, “and our projections are we will remain in compliance.”
So much blood... so much blood...  so much blood...

You know what's morbidly scary?  The thought of Jacksonville, Florida - a metropolitan area of 1.6M - having to ship bright young 0Ls to Gainesville, Orlando, or Tallahassee for cost-inefficient legal education.  That's fucking scary.

I'm back to the Trick or Treat door with my A-game brogues, snifter of brandy, and model girlfriend dressed like a horny cheerleader.  Everyone gets a Snickers and a law school application.  Helen next door may be handing out scrumptious cookies, but I'm doling out tickets to these little rat bastards' futures.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Grisham Endorsement

In The Rooster Bar, John Grisham, a proud but typical third-tier graduate now worth well over $100 million, features for-profit law school graduates who, with bootstrap-pulling moxie and legal knowledge, win big and drink from the golden tits at the milk bar.

The media is trying to spin it as "Grish" putting such institutions in his cross-hairs, but he's actually quite complimentary of legal education if you think about it.

For one thing, he rightly chose to focus on a for profit institution, preserving the sacrosanct truth that non-profit schools serve the public good and don't lead to the sort of spooky Halloween-level fictions of joblessness, debt, and skill mismatch.

For another thing, he doesn't even excoriate all for-profit schools.
According to the American Bar Association, there are currently six for-profit law schools in America that are accredited. One of them, the Charlotte School of Law, was recently closed.

"Not all the schools are shady....." 
See?  Using super-lawyer logical reasoning, that means no more than five (5) of the ABA's 205 accredited schools are "shady," which is less than 2.5%.

"Grish" may not write sex scenes well, and he may not have known about the student debt crisis until 2014, and his books may be highly enjoyable formula pieces about superficial injustices, but god damn it, the man understands law.

Not having read or even been sent a courtesy copy of The Rooster Bar, I have no idea if there's a dedication.  But let's give "Grish" a proposed epigraph for his next book, which I can only hope will be about an enterprising law dean who fights defamatory and unscrupulous journalists in the trenches of a courtroom and torches their asses with the hellfire of precise rhetoric and glimmering cuff-links:

97.5% of law schools are not shady. 
- John Grisham

Saturday, October 21, 2017

California Bar Exam Held Hostage

As you will recall, a common thread lately is bar examiners unreasonably rejecting qualified lawyers, much as armies everywhere reject 6'1"/180 workout freaks because they had a pulled muscle or a sinus infection that cost them 300 points on an entrance exam.

It's baffling.  We have a known justice gap.  People are going unrepresented.  Doesn't repeating this resonate?  Default judgments are a norm and government offices are burdened with lots of paper that extra lawyers should shuffle with aplomb.  It's beyond debate that the solution to our national crisis is turning as many 22-year-old waifs into 25-year-old card-carrying bar journal cover photos.

I've been on a multi-year crusade to get my readers to understand the importance of letting any shit with a briecase defend a murderer.  You'd think our cloistered elites would at least grasp the concept before the proletariat.  You really would.

And yet even the California Supreme Court doesn't even get it.
In view of the rising costs of legal education and the financial hardship potentially resulting from non-admission to the California bar, the court determined last February to assess whether the current pass score (cut score) of 1440 for the California bar exam is appropriate for evaluating the minimum competence necessary for entering attorneys to practice law in this state.
On September 13, the court received the State Bar’s “Final Report on the 2017 California Bar Exam Standard Setting Study.” ...  Opinions of the study were mixed:  two independent psychometricians identified flaws in the study but ultimately found its process and conclusions sound, while a number of legal educators and others concluded the flaws of the study were so significant as to render it unreliable.
[T]he court is not persuaded that the relevant information and data developed at this time weigh in favor of departing from the longstanding pass score of 1440.
If you are not going to listen to your amici curae law professors, the very people whose views have assisted in writing voluminous, perfectly cited briefs skimmed thoughtlessly by your clerks for decades, who are you going to listen to?

Plainly, the California Bar Examination is being held hostage by a body that doesn't understand the nuances of disregarding scientific methods and turning the regulatory state over to limousine capitalists.  Someone should commission another study.

Shit, I'll give you your conclusion right here:  free the bar examination.  Let the people who know the industry best administer the examination and determine where an appropriate cut-off for passing scores is.  Legal educators have their manicured hands on the pulse of the legal community.  While the Supreme Court is listening to oral arguments on high, most law professors are working 25 hour weeks delivering oral arguments to students in lecture halls and receiving them during office hours.

Law professors, deans, and other concerned parties should be "setting the bar."  It's the passion that they devoted their lives to the day they realized the BigLaw partnership wasn't happening.  They shouldn't have their life's work ruined because some political homeboys want to rubber-stamp a number pulled out of someone's ass when Ronald Reagan was President.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Assault on Arizona Summit Continues; Have Bar Examiners No Shame?

Predictable and sad.
Pass rates for first-time test takers from Arizona Summit Law School dipped to 26 percent in July after having improved to nearly 30 percent in February. Results hit a low of 25 percent in July 2016, according to results released Monday by the Arizona Supreme Court.
Arizona Summit once boasted State Bar exam passage rates as high as 97 percent.
I'm sure the self-appointed critics will see this as validation of what they've been saying about Arizona Summit.  They're such mental midgets they would use a term like "mental midget."  Lord knows I wouldn't.  I'm sophisticated and well-endowed. 

The only variable that matters with bar passage rates is whiners bitching about the law school scam and thereby driving bar examiners to make the test more ludicrously difficult for would-be lawyers.  When Phoenix has a shortage of qualified attorneys in a few short years, there's going to be plenty of blame to go around, but squarely, indisputably, it can be directed at the legal media who have driven intelligent, hard-working students towards less-"scammy" professions premised on a presentation of evidence that is unnecessarily and absurdly objective and even-handed.

But-for you assholes, Summit would still be scoring 97 percent on the bar exam.  No doubt in my mind, as the test-makers would have no incentive to make the test more difficult.

I heard there's now a math section on the bar examination.  That's how bad it's gotten.  Did you know that?  Like why are they making future criminal law defense attorneys do integral calculus?

Oh well...

What you all don't realize is that the survivors of this ludicrous system are going to the baddest millennial badass attorneys to ever badass.  It's called evolution.  More resistance makes the trainees who escape the cruel system even stronger.  The fascist cretins at the bar association may be unjustifiably shredding tickets to the Express but the ones who can board are going for a long, multi-million dollar ride.  Most of us would prefer a more egalitarian approach, but to each his own.

Scam on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Blunt Beauty of Dean Chemerinsky

Four years ago, Richard Susskind published a book about the future of lawyering.  Befitting the role of academics to always be publishing, Susskind has published a second edition.  Here is an excerpt from it that will restore your cynic-shot faith in academic writing.

In this section, Susskind addresses what law students should be teaching their students, i.e., how to train them for the post-Terminator reality of a legal profession that has no practical jobs for lawyers (spoiler alert: in the year 2000, the Million Dollar Express will run on solar power fuel cells and the money we swim in will be digital!).

As some of Susskind's more agressive conclusions could be perceived as potentially contradictory to the pump 'n' dump strategy of America's fine institutions of legal education, AMR appropriately asked for comments for the salted cashew gallery of American legal academia. 

As might be expected, Dean Chemerinsky cuts to the heart of the matter:
Legal education is better than Richard Susskind realizes.
Chemerinsky, the Graham Greene thoracic surgeon of legal academia. If he didn't believe in the long-term prosperity of legal education, he wouldn't have built a brand new vanity project law school in a congested metro area and bail to Berkeley.

Go to law school, kids.  It's better than Richard Susskind realizes.  If that doesn't convince you, you may not be law school material, but it's okay - someone's going to have to program our robots and clean the digital money pool.